sonic truth

Coca-Cola's World Cup Ad: How Sonic Branding Can Fuse Utility and Emotion

Posted by Craig Stout on June 6, 2014 04:32 PM

No one argues with music’s power to elicit an emotional response. Yet brands so often fail to use audio to emotionally connect with customers. And as the Internet of Things becomes a reality and machines need to communicate with their human counterparts, sonic branding is more important than ever. 

As a part of being the brand's FIFA World Cup sponsorship, Coke released the “Happy Beep” video, using the brand's iconic five-note audio mnemonic to turn everyday beeps of a Brazilian grocery store's checkout barcode scanner into a moment of surprise and delight. It’s difficult not to smile as the familiar Coke musical notes, which also played a role in its 2010 World Cup campaign, materialize.

But sonic branding goes beyond audio equivalent of visual logos and advertising. It’s not just the NBC chimes, Justin Timberlake’s  “I’m Lovin' It” jingle for McDonald's, or the MGM lion’s roar. It is about managing the ecosystem of sonic elements that a brand has at its disposal—which is only going to increase as everything gets connected. These sonic elements can make experiences more intuitive, navigable and aid awareness of a brand’s presence. To see something, we need to be looking where as we don’t need to be actively listening to hear.Continue reading...

sonic truth

Audio Branding: BMW Uses New Sound Signature To Help Redefine the Brand

Posted by Dale Buss on March 20, 2013 04:17 PM

What does BMW sound like?

Not "a" BMW—they're performance cars that can go from throaty to whisper-quiet in a matter of moments, and then back again. Even cooler, BMWs emit distinctive sounds that aficionados can identify just like a dog knows its master's whistle.

Instead, what the brand sounds like, in the beginning of a new refinement effort, is a measure of music and non-musical tones that BMW has begun using as an auditory signal at the end of new TV and radio ads in Europe and, later this year, around the world.

The line ends with two identical sounds that have a hammer-and-tongs tinge, a deep and highly resonant tone with a metallic edge. It will replace a "double gong" used in BMW advertisements since the late 1990s.Continue reading...

sonic truth

Audio Branding: Apple Finally Trademarks Startup Chime

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 13, 2012 05:50 PM

The sound of an Apple Macintosh computer starting up — a resounding digital chime, familiar to viewers of WALL-E — can strike a person with dread or joy, depending on what he or she is opening the computer for. Whatever the sound makes a consumer feel, it is now Apple’s sound and Apple’s alone.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the company’s trademark application this week and so Apple’s trademarked sound joins the ranks of Harley-Davidson’s engine, NBC’s chimes, the 20th Century Fox fanfare, and the first bar of “O Canada,” the Canadian national anthem.Continue reading...

sonic truth

No Bull: Thai Brands May Soon Trademark Sounds and Smells

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2012 04:04 PM

Like that smell oozing out of the curry joint you just walked by? Well, if you’re in Thailand, don’t try to replicate it — you may find you're stepping all over somebody’s trademark. The nation's trademark law may soon change, and one of the funkier twists before the Senate for approval would allow businesses to trademark smells and sounds, according to the Bangkok Post.

In order to brademarked, the sounds would need to be “distinctive,” the Post notes. The bill being considered describes it as "a sound that is not directly descriptive of the character or quality of the goods, a natural sound of the products/services or sound arising from the functionality of the products/services." So a BBQ meat joint can’t trademark sizzling meat, for example, although Thai-originated Krating Daeng (you may know it better as Red Bull) could consider trademarking a bull's snort if it wanted a sound associated with its brand.Continue reading...

sonic truth

Hum That Brand: Nokia Contest Seeks Update of Signature Tune

Posted by Anthony Zumpano on September 9, 2011 01:59 PM

Yahoo’s not the only company wishing it had a fission-powered DeLorean (a la Nike this week) to facilitate a return to better times.

It wasn’t long ago – all right, maybe an eon in the cellphone era – when more pockets were stuffed with Nokia phones than ears plugged with trendy white headphones. Those iPod buds were annoying if you weren’t an early adopter, but at least they didn’t disturb you in a movie theater, unlike that Nokia earworm (known as the Nokia Tune) that burrowed into my brain to keep company with the latest derivative party anthem by the Black Eyed Peas.

Think you can come up with a new Nokia Tune? Now's your chance!Continue reading...

sonic truth

HP Gets Retro-Hip to Plug Audio Brands

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 13, 2011 04:00 PM

Hewlett-Packard is touting its audio brand partners in its HP consumer notebooks (Dolby, SRS and the Chrysler-favored Beats by Dr. Dre) in a quirky, retro new video that's one part Loony Toons, one part goofy 1950's educational film, including white-jacketed scientists, a pitch-perfect voiceover and a winking nod to the future — check it out below. Continue reading...

sonic truth

‪Pomplamoose‬ Tames Angry Birds

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 12, 2011 02:30 PM

Twee hipster sensation ‪Pomplamoose‬ is jumping the division of commerce and art again as it covers the theme song from video game Angry Birds.

Of course, the band has become more commercial, and brand-friendly — even as it winks at that friendliness.Continue reading...

sonic truth

Lucky Duck: Aflac Finds Its Voice in Dan McKeague

Posted by Shirley Brady on April 26, 2011 01:30 PM

No more edgy comedians for Aflac.

After firing Gilbert Gottfried for tasteless tweets about the recent disaster in Japan and launching a nationwide search, Aflac today announced the new voice of its duck mascot — Dan McKeague, a 36-year-old classic rock radio station sales manager from Minneapolis, MN, who beat 12,500 contenders for the role.

His first Aflac spot (below) will debut, appropriately, during tonight's premiere of The Voice — a competition to find America's next great singer — on NBC.Continue reading...

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